September 23, 2019Comments are off for this post.

SHOULD WE REGULATE CULTURE?

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry is complete. Across 76 recommendations, the verdict is in: a profit over people approach had established deep roots in the culture of many organisations. With APRA and the broader community seeking effective reform, a question has emerged related to culture: can it be regulated?

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September 23, 2019Comments are off for this post.

CULTURE VS ENGAGEMENT

Many organisations grapple with the decision of focusing on either culture or employee engagement, and whilst these measures are often spoken about interchangeably, their differences are critical.

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August 2, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Rethinking the ‘C’ in ‘CX’

By Dylan Flavell, Managing Director

Reading time: 4 minutes

Apart from technology, the rise of customer experience (CX) is the dominant business theme of the past 10 years. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, CX is king. Ironically, customer expectations have never been higher yet at the same time, will never be as low as they are today. As markets converge and as quality, price and service are evaluated regularly by consumers, what is an excellent experience today will be acceptable tomorrow and under-par the day after. In short, CX is a journey, not a destination and a key ingredient for organisations who can go the distance is organisational culture. In particular, the ability to continually adapt and evolve as the customer landscape changes is becoming a requisite CX capability.

“Customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied even when they report being happy and business is great.” Geoff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Over the past 12 months we have been working with three iconic Australian organisations in three different market sectors (retail, education and property management) to enable their CX journey through organisational culture. Whilst fundamentally different organisations, their challenges are strikingly similar and offer insight to those seeking to build organisations that can deliver consistently great CX.

The context for these three organisations had similarities; historically successful and experiencing market disruption in the form of new competitors and changing customer expectations. For all of them, the criticality of CX at a Board and Executive level has been established. A core part of our work with these organisations included performance culture diagnostics where three similar cultural patterns relating to CX emerged.

  1. Low confidence and capability to execute cross functional programs of work, or more practically – silos exist that prevent ‘joined up’ customer experiences
  2. Employees who don’t feel empowered to act in the best interests of the customer
  3. An awareness of customer needs/problems, but difficulty responding to these at the necessary pace

So for each of these organisations, whilst they had invested in their CX journey by addressing more tangible aspects of CX (e.g. customer strategy articulation, product development and technology transformation), those ‘counter-customer’ cultural attributes described above had gotten in the way of realising the benefits. This pattern emerges as a ‘competing tension’; being that CX requires a dual focus and investment on both the tangible aspects of CX as well as the development of critical cultural attributes that enable agility and integration. Both are necessary but a tendency to address one without the other is common.

Getting practical

Our evidence base and experience suggest some key steps organisations must consider to develop a culture that supports CX.

  • Quality diagnostic: Understand your organisational culture using a quality, systemic performance culture diagnostic. Engagement is not the same. Performance culture lifts the tone of the conversation to enable strategic change. Deep evidence shows that the cultural attributes described above: Cross functional integration, Empowerment and Customer Responsiveness, are highly correlated with CX performance
  • Performance linked: Connect your culture to your strategy. If you can’t describe the links, senior stakeholders will see culture work in a non-commercial light and will lose interest
  • Involvement: Ensure those who deliver customer experience are involved in creating culture change solutions. This is critical to both addressing what really matters and getting uptake from your teams

Customer centricity is here to stay, but what that looks like won’t stand still. Building organisations that are customer centric requires intelligent and deliberate investment in culture, in the same way we currently invest in technology and other tangible CX assets. Those organisations and leaders who recognise this and take a medium to longer term view that balances investment across both domains will be the customer kings of tomorrow

DF.

July 2, 2020Comments are off for this post.

WE NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF CREATING CULTURES OF BELONGING – Here’s where to start

By Chelsea Corless

As discrimination and violence against people of colour and other marginalised groups gains visibility, organisations are becoming increasingly vocal in their support for diversity and belonging.  While this has been met with some cynicism, we know from working with dozens of client organisations that many hold a genuine commitment to fostering diversity and belonging in their workplaces.

Yet despite this commitment, and substantial efforts by some, many organisations have failed to make sufficient progress towards genuine diversity and belonging.  There are countless reasons for this, not least because discrimination and bias is baked into many of our processes, our systems, ways of interacting and thinking.  Creating organisations that are truly diverse and foster belonging is daunting and difficult work.

Organisational culture remains an important avenue for such efforts. This is because cultures are not an end in themselves - they are not policies, practices, capabilities; rather they create the environment in which employees and leaders are supported or prevented from bringing about positive change; the environments in which well-meaning efforts are embraced or rejected.

The path to cultures of belonging will look different for everyone, but they will all take time, effort and a lot of learning from mistakes. Nevertheless, there are many things organisations can do to fast track their success. We propose these Six Principles based on research and experience as a good place to start the work: 

1. Understand what belonging means to your employees

This will differ greatly across employees, and the first step is giving them a chance to express what they need. This can be as simple as a survey, or more involved, such as ASIO’s diversity networks, 1 with employees provided resources, governance and sponsorship to establish groups to tackle diversity issues and offer support. Importantly, listening to employees will help identify marginalised groups, understand employee expectations and how far you have to go to meet these. It will also help you manage expectations, because you won’t always be able to give people everything they hope for.  

2. Leverage your existing culture and values

Understand your current culture and find ways to use this to bring belonging to the fore. For example, if your culture strongly values professionalism, make considered inclusion of diverse opinions in decisions a matter of professionalism. If your culture is risk averse, make it risky to exclude others from decisions.  If working within your current culture is not enough, manage resistance by selecting interventions that at least don't work directly against your culture.

3. Manage tensions

There will be tensions, both real and perceived, between doing the right thing and doing what is best for short term business or personal gain. For example, the need to include more diverse opinions may clash with a value in speedy decision making. Organisations need to understand what points of conflict exist between their ways of working and inclusion efforts and provide employees with a clear path for navigating them. The famous Netflix Culture Manifesto 2 does a great job of articulating such trade-offs.

4. Focus on a few behaviours and work practices

While mindset and bias play an important role in culture, they are notoriously difficult to describe, change and measure. Yet mindset does follow behaviour, so focus instead on a few behaviours and work practices that require your people to put belonging into action and reinforce them rigorously.

5. Focus on the local

Belonging means different things to different people and cultures. Therefore, efforts to bring it to life will need to look different across teams and geographies. Help teams and leaders define how they will bring broader organisational expectations of inclusion and belonging to life at their local level, and to determine the unique behaviours they will take to achieve this.

6. Measure it

Change is an ongoing process, so be sure to measure it as such. Identify the lead and lag indicators of success at both local and organisational levels, pulse them regularly and make the results salient to decision makers.

The world has a long way to go before we achieve the equity and justice we all deserve, and organisations have a critical role in getting us there. Creating cultures that foster belonging and positive change is an important avenue for this essential work.

Links

  1. https://www.insidehr.com.au/asio-diversity-capability-innovation-adaptability/ 
  2. https://jobs.netflix.com/culture 

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April 23, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Our Latest Newsletter

Our latest newsletter is your guide to Survive and Thrive with a free discussion series, white paper and other tools to support your business through this period. 

April 16, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Survive and Thrive Whitepaper

As a consulting firm we support the world's best companies to develop culture, leadership and capability solutions to enable strategy execution. Never before have these organisational attributes been so critical to an organisation’s ability to survive and thrive, recognising that great change is always accompanied by real hardship, and opportunity.

With information and opinions abound, we sought to clarify what history and evidence reveals as the critical considerations for organisations seeking to not only survive, but to be prepared to thrive when volume and activity returns. This article distills our insights from research and evidence, and summarises key areas that our progressive clients are investing in now to ensure they can continue to be market leaders for the clients, consumers and communities they support.

Check out our Spring Point Survive and Thrive Report below and get in touch to find out more.

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November 28, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Organisational culture – the strategic liability of our time

For many organisations today, culture has become a liability. Although culture is essential for organisational performance and health, a pervasive inability to understand and manage culture in support of business performance has become a significant strategic risk.

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August 2, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Tough Questions

When a new staff member joins the Spring Point Team as a contractor, permamant staff or even as a student on placement; we always ask them a standard set of very important questions. We do this because it's hard starting a new role in a new company and we want to find out a little more about the new person, but it's mainly to break the ice.

We recently had Ben Jepsen start with us. We are excited to host him for his first placement as part of the Masters Psychology (Organisational) from Deakin University. Here's what he had to say in response to our tricky questions...

1. Dog or Cat? Dog person born and raised, but I love cats. 

2. Steak or Sushi? Steak. 

3. Summer or Autumn? Summer

4. Favourite Footy team: Sydney Swans (or Richmond, still deciding). 

5. Favourite Treat: Banana lollies (Spring Point: Interesting!)

6. Favourite Country: France — love the culture, cities, people, and language.

7. Favourite TV show: Stranger Things.

8. Favourite Movie: I, Robot with Will Smith. 

9. Who or what inspires you? My friends and family around me that accomplish great things and also encourage me to improve.

10. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Roughly 8 alarms and knowing that each day is an opportunity to be a better version of yourself compared to the day before.

7. What is your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon? Catching up with an old friend or family members.

8. Three words to describe yourself. Open-minded, honest, inclusive.